Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Broken Fairy Tale

Where Are They Now? American Queen Hope Cooke
About Hope Cooke the only American Queen who married the King of Sikkim, history and biography of her then and now.

Headline--1963: HOPE COOKE

At the Peak: It seemed to be a real-life fairy tale back in the early 1960s when Hope Cooke, a shy 22-year-old New York debutante, won the heart of the crown prince of Sikkim, a fabled Shangri-la principality astride the Himalaya.

They called Hope "the Grace Kelly of the East" in those days, and the public was bombarded with details of her exotic romance. We learned how the bride, an orphan who'd been raised by the former U.S. ambassador to Iran, had been wooed by her Prince Charming, a handsome widower whom she'd met in India in 1958.

After many consultations by the Buddhist astrologers, the wedding was set for March of 1963, and the public was treated to rhapsodic descriptions of the two-hour ceremony, replete with throbbing Tibetan horns, bejeweled altars, clanging cymbals, and classical chants by imperial lamas. Then the couple was supposed to live happily ever after in a palace nestled in the shadows of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain (which the groom happened to own).

Please read the rest of the story here. They issue scary copyright warnings but when I clicked on the conditions I got blank subpages.

... And come back here!

I'd like to thank Shital Pradhan, whose comment on this post provided the proper ending. The article glossed over the details of Hope Cooke's leaving Sikkim for the U.S... and the fact that she later divorced her king.

I wish I had more time to actually research this. If you know more about the American queen of Sikkim, please drop me a line.

(Image found here.)


Kim said...

So the musical "The King & I" is based on a real story?

What a strange story, didn't think there were such true stories that are almost fairy tales.

Misiula said...

I had no idea until yesterday. Sadly. I love that picture of the two of them.

I hope they didn't sing at each other.

Shital Pradhan said...

But it is also very sad that the queen left her king when he needed her the most....When India took away Sikkim, Hope Cooke deserted the king and left for her home at US. She divorced with the king in late 70s that left the King with a broken heart and he died of a heart attack a couple of years latter when his kingdom and his dear wife was no longer with him....

Misiula said...

Welcome to the blog, Shital Pradhan!

And thank you for giving us the proper ending. The article glossed over the question of divorce. Oh the poor king...

I should do some more research. Did she re-marry?

Shital Pradhan said...

hi Misiula...I am from Sikkim so when i saw your post could not stop myself from writing on it....

Hope Cook remarried Michael Wallace, an American writer.

I am also a blogger and write more about visit my blog..